Sickness and Youth: How volunteering at The Children's Hospital can help brighten a child's day

by SO on April 10, 2014 - 3:07pm

I will be volunteering with sick children, along side my friend Laurence Poitras, at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.  

The Montreal Children’s Hospital is an organization which specializes in health care for infants, children, and adolescents. They always aimed to be world-renowned paediatric hospital, which is a status they have achieved and they always put the children’s needs first. The organization’s core values are, according to their website, caring, family, cultural sensitivity, collaboration, support, innovation, passion, and child advocacy. Their main goals are to provide great care for infants, children, adolescents both physically and emotionally and promote the wellness of infants, children, adolescents in all areas that touch children’s lives. They make it a priority to keep their goals and values present throughout all their activities.

The organization’s website is: 


I will be volunteering at the hospital because I want to help make a life in the day of sick child brighter. I want to help them forget, even if just for a day, about their problems. The news stories I have been reading about are mostly concerning youth, specifically young children. Youth rights, abuse victims, health… I want to help youth in any way I can, and the Montreal Children’s Hospital is a great local opportunity to help kids! I have been writing about education rights, child abuse, exercise at all ages, but my topic of preference is youth.  Which is why I chose to volunteer with sick children at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. 


We hope to be able to conduct an activity of our choice with the children, to have a little bit of freedom with the children. We have been in contact with the person responsible for volunteering already. We are planning on bringing pizza to the children and chatting with them, and planning activities according to age. For example, we could read to the toddlers, play board games with the younger kids, etc. Since some of the children won’t be able to move around that much, we will organize fun activities that don’t require much physical activity. But all will be conducted around the central idea of a Pizza Party. I think the opportunity will be eye opening for myself. I have never volunteered with sick children and I am looking forward to brightening their day up with some fun ideas. Being a team of 2, it will be easier to entertain the children as well. We will do our best to create a wonderful, fun, day for the children. 


We will be volunteering at the Hospital in the coming weeks. We are currently finding a date with the help of a Hospital representative. It will probably be on a friday, most probably towards the end of April, beginning of May.


Until we report on our volunteer opportunity, visit their website for more information!


I look forward to working with you and am excited to share my proposal. Stay tuned…

I will be doing my report on this volunteer program.

As being someone going to be a nurse, your title drew me in with the impact of volunteering in a hospital. I have volunteered many places with people who were mentally ill or people who just needed help, but finally this summer I am getting into a hospital. With this my career choice I am extremely interested and volunteering is very important to me as you get to affect the children in a different way. Though you cannot necessarily make them better, you have the opportunity to put a smile on the child’s face, which can sometimes be the best medicine for the day. I like this article because I can relate to it and I think it is amazing what you are going to do for these children. Spending time with sick children is something so great to do. You not only make their day, but it changes the way you look at your own life and the choices you are making. I like how you explain why you want to volunteer at this hospital and how you really care about the youth, but you do not expand as much as you could on this. I think it would help if you explained what really makes you want to do this, how you chose this hospital, and why you want to help children and how this all affects you. I do like your plan of how you have a friend to help you and that you are bringing pizza to the children and chatting with them. You also said your main interest is in youth, you never explained to the reader why. This would help your readers to understand why you are choosing to do this and how it is impacting your life. Yet, I still think it is awesome what you are doing and you should be very excited to spend time with these children. It is excellent to see someone getting involved with children and helping impact their society.

Summary: This blog post looks at how changing the meaning that is attached to donating to Miracle Flights may help increase their revenue and ultimately be able to provide more free flights to sick children in need of transportation to receive the best medical care possible.

Miracle Flights for Kids is a national non-profit organization that was developed in 1985. Their mission is to fly low-income children who are sick, with cancer or other debilitating diseases, to the proper hospital or treatment facility. Similarly, Miracle Flights also flies sick children to places for second opinions to ensure they are making the best medical decision based on the information provided to them. This organization has already donated over 84,000 flights to families who would not have financially been able to provide transportation to receive the necessary care for their child.
The main assumptions of Miracle Flights is that it provides a safe and efficient method of transportation, free of cost, to children in need of reaching the destination of the best medical services. This non-profit assumes that the sick child needs this transportation in order to visit the best medical facility for their specific ailment. Another assumption is that Miracle Flights takes as much of each donation as economically possible and puts it toward the transportation of children. Miracle Flights is operated entirely from donations from the generosity of the public, organizations, and foundations. This assumes that they will receive enough donations to keep this organization functioning for as many sick children as possible.
The outcomes for Miracle Flights are both short and long term. The short-term outcomes are that the child will board a flight and be transported to a hospital and begin treatment for their illness. The long-term outcomes are that this child’s health will improve because of this treatment and will grow to enjoy a healthier lifestyle that might not have been possible if it was not for Miracle Flights.
The inputs for Miracle Flights are the costs of the plane, the maintenance of the plane, the fuel, the pilot’s compensation, and office supplies (for marketing and advertising purposes). Another input is the costs associated with making sure each sick child, and his or her family, is comfortable (i.e. reclining chair, blankets etc.). Eighty-one percent of all donations go directly to providing these flights.
The outputs for Miracle Flights are providing a free flight to sick children who cannot afford transportation to the best care facility. This organization provides a safe and dignified flight for these children. Every 29 dollars that is donated to Miracle Flights can fly a child 100 miles. To date, Miracle Flights have traveled over 46 million miles to help these children.
Based on this logic model, there are methods this organization could use in order to better achieve their goals. Adapting the ideas of Blumer could help Miracle Flights better achieve their goal of flying more sick children to the best medical facility. The main component from Blumer’s writings that can be applied to Miracle Flights is to use symbolic interaction in order to get more people, preferably more wealthy people, to donate to this organization. By using Blumer’s ideas and attaching more meaning, or a different kind of meaning, to this organization, Miracle Flights could see a great increase in their funds. Currently they rely on the generosity of individuals, organizations, and foundations. They also partner with corporate airlines by allowing people to donate their frequent flier miles to sick children and offer the lowest flight prices possible to this organization.
Blumer’s work discusses how individuals attach certain meanings or values to things in society. Once this meaning is attached, it becomes an influence over our interactions with others. People have an internal dialogue in order to fully understand the meanings they have attached to certain things. We also attach meanings and values to symbols in our everyday life. Using Miracle Flights as an example, a person might put a Miracle Flight sticker on their car if they donate to this organization. That sticker becomes a symbol of support for the donator and the organization will hopefully receive more support and more attention by that sticker being driven around town.
It is considered a symbolic gesture to donate to a charity in our society. Donating money makes people feel good about themselves, makes them feel like they are helping others in need, and provides them with a positive status in our country. Since, as Durkheim discusses, people are social products that serve a purpose, it is important for organizations like Miracle Flights to help attach more crucial meanings to the act of donating. There are two ways to donate to Miracle Flights, a one-time donation or a reoccurring donation through sponsorship. The meaning attached to donating, either once or reoccurring, is similar. Miracle Flights would benefit financially by working to attach more symbolic meaning to reoccurring donations. When people donate to a charity they feel good about themselves for that moment and perhaps for a short period of time after that. When people give a monthly donation to a charity, they are able to experience these feelings connected with donating on a constant basis. By helping individuals understand the meaning attached to reoccurring donations, Miracle Flights would be able to increase their revenue and be better suited to meet their long term goal of providing more safe flights for sick children.
Individuals act towards things (Miracle Flights for this example) based on the meanings they have attached to that thing. If people attached some of the longer-term goals that Miracle Flights has to donations, they may increase their annual revenue. Currently, it appears that the main component that a donator would attach meaning to their donation to would be the flight itself. Instead, donators should be attaching meaning to the bigger goal of Miracle Flights, the ability for a sick child to receive treatment at the best facility.
One avenue for improving their donations is to target high-profile celebrities. Many celebrities aim to promote a Good Samaritan image to the public. Many do it for selfless reasons; they have the money and can afford donating some of their revenue. Others do it because it helps them create a positive image to the public eye, which in the long run may help them in their careers. If Miracle Flights were able to get a few big name celebrities to donate money for flights, they could use the story to promote the celebrity, but more importantly get the name of their organization into the public ear. Other celebrities would see the meanings that are attached to donating to this cause and may become interested in donating as well. Similarly, as consumers of popular culture, non-celebrity people may see celebrities attaching meaning to an organization like Miracle Flights and want to feel connected to that particular celebrity, so they might then also desire to donate to Miracle Flights. This approach could greatly help Miracle Flights increase their annual revenue.
I would imagine the sick child, and perhaps more importantly the family of the sick child, attaches great meaning to the flight that Miracle Flights provides. This organization strives to provide a safe and dignified flight to the necessary destination. Anyone who has worked with children before understands the importance of making a child feel safe and secure, and this organization aims to do the same. Families will attach the treatment and (hopefully) healing process of their child to the opportunity given to them by Miracle Flights. If Miracle Flights can broaden the meaning that accompanies donating to this organization, they will increase the amount of miles they can fly each year.
Miracle Flights have had a successful first 28 years in business as a non-profit organization. Their business has a clear logical model, which helps them achieve their short-term and long-term goals. Making some changes in how meaning is attached to the act of donating money to this organization and what types of donations are acceptable can help increase their revenues and ultimately help meet its long-term goal.

Hi SO, I think that what you are doing is very important! I’ve never been sick enough to be in a hospital for a long period of time, however I think that if something would happen to me I would like to get my mind of my problems for a period of time. Also, I believe that this is even more important for young kids who have a very important disease that enables them to have a normal and happy childhood since I believe that everybody should have the right to have one. As for ewils5, I think that your opinion on this matter is really relevant since as a future nurse you know how much these volunteers are important for the wellbeing of the kids. I really enjoyed your input on this matter and it made me understand even more the importance of volunteering. The only thing I would like to add to your post is the requirements for volunteering at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Here is a link to the website of the hospital that presents the different requirements that volunteers have to meet. For the one’s interested just have a look at it to see if you can in fact apply to volunteer.

Volunteering with sick children is a great way to make a sick child’s life a little brighter and I praise you for volunteering. Here is another foundation in Montreal where you may be able to find some volunteering at. The “Fondation Marie-Ève-Saulnier” aims to help out families who have children, who have been diagnosed with cancer, and who need financial support. They offer the possibility to parents to concentrate on their child’s illness by minimizing stress factors, such as money, and aiding in maintaining family life as normal as possible. Its founder, Linda Langlois-Saulnier, founded the organization in 1997, in honor of her daughter, Marie-Ève, who passed away in 1996 at the age of twelve. On November 6 2017, the foundation will be hosting their 10th edition of their benefit “Fourchettes et tendresse” and celebrating their 20 year anniversary. If you would like to donate, you may fill out this form and send it to or call 514-875-2107.

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